Outsourcing your business’s SEO is a leap of faith – you’re spending valuable marketing dollars on a project and need to show the return on that investment. That’s why many marketers are tempted by firms that guarantee top rankings or specific traffic increases, or claim they’ll improve your position in as little as 30 days.
But beware of firms that make these kinds of promises. The fact is, reputable SEO firms don’t offer guaranteed #1 rankings, fast results, or any other promises that sound too good to be true.
Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEO software company SEOMoz, cites several reasons why guarantees are typically used by shady SEO firms, including:
- Google warns against making such promises in its search marketing guidelines, saying, “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.”
- Search rankings are notoriously unstable, and subject to a variety of factors such as the location of the person searching and whether they’ve logged in to Google and are using personalized results.
- Rankings alone are a bad metric for overall performance. It’s more important that the search results drive relevant visitors that take a desired action – such as signing up for an email newsletter or making a purchase – once they land on your page.
Claims about rapid improvements in search engine rankings are similarly dubious. SEO is not a quick-fix marketing tactic to deliver results in a matter of hours or days. Instead, it typically takes a diligent, ongoing process that gradually improves your site’s rankings.
A good SEO project can take two to three months to begin showing a real impact, depending on a number of factors such as the age of your site, the number of quality inbound links you already have, and the competitiveness of keywords.
Anyone promising you big-time results in just a month is probably overpromising or worse: They could be using shady SEO tactics that might deliver a quick bump at the expense of long-term search engine visibility.